Crookston falls to Mahnomen-Waubun as Thunderbirds rally in all three sets
The Pirates, who were originally set to play at Bagley on Tuesday, had to scrap the matchup with the Flyers after Bagley's school district voted to remain in distance learning. Instead, Crookston arranged to host Mahnomen-Waubun on Monday.
The Pirates came out strong, taking solid leads in every set in their quest for their first win of the season. But they couldn't hang on, as the Thunderbirds came from behind on three separate occasions to earn a three-set victory and drop Crookston to 0-9.
"They fought hard for all the points tonight," said coach Ashley Stopa. "Overall, we made less errors in this game and were very scrappy."
Despite missing four of their 10 varsity players, the Pirates looked sharp for long stretches. They had one of their replacements — Ally Perreault, elevated from junior varsity — to thank especially. In her first career varsity game, Perreault sparked a 10-3 first-set run with three kills, and aced a serve to put Crookston up 14-9.
The lead grew to 18-11, but the Pirates' joy was short-lived — Mahnomen-Waubun (3-4) promptly scored 10 straight points and finished the set on a 14-2 run, the late push only broken by an errant serve and a block by Mallorie Sundeen.
Stopa thought Crookston's serving helped spur several long runs, such as the start of the second set. Perreault and Sundeen, the two junior middle blockers, played a big role as well, combining for several kills as the Pirates took a 9-4 lead.
The Thunderbirds' rally in the second set was more gradual. A kill and ace by Rylee Solheim (Jr.) pushed the lead to 14-11, but that was as large as it would get for Crookston. Mahnomen-Waubun took its first lead at 16-15, and outlasted the Pirates at the end to win, 25-22.
The third and ultimately final set was more of the same. But while the Thunderbirds came from behind again, they didn't need quite as much time to get going. Crookston's last lead of the match came at 7-6, and Mahnomen-Waubun took advantage of a few Pirate mistakes to build its lead, all the way to 25-20.
"Some miscommunications and well-placed tips by Mahnomen was the key difference," Stopa said.
UP NEXT: The Pirates go on the road to take on East Grand Forks on Thursday, Nov. 12. The Green Wave have bounced back from a four-game losing streak and are 5-4 on the season, having picked up their third straight win by sweeping Red Lake County Central on Monday.
Mahnomen-Waubun hosts Ada-Borup West (2-6) on Tuesday.
Mahnomen-Waubun 3, Crookston 0 (25-20, 25-22, 25-20)
- Kills: Ally Perreault 6, Mallorie Sundeen 6, Rylee Solheim 2, Emma Boll 1
- Assists: Libby Salentine 12, Ally Perreault 1, Amelia Overgaard 1
- Digs: Amber Cymbaluk 7, Amelia Overgaard 5, Emma Boll 4, Rylee Solheim 4, Ally Perreault 3
- Blocks: Libby Salentine 2, Mallorie Sundeen 1
- Aces: Amber Cymbaluk 4, Rylee Solheim 3, Ally Perreault 1, Libby Salentine 1
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